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GlasgowsGreen

Learning Golf By Google

9 posts in this topic

With the thousands of YouTube videos, web pages and forums out there it’s hard to imagine how people learnt golf before the invention of the internet.

In my desire to learn golf I’ve spent a lot of money on lessons and training aids as well as spending hours trawling through the internet. The training aids have mostly been a waste of money, and whilst I enjoy reading about golf technique online, I have to question if the negatives outweigh the positives?

The problem with learning golf on the internet is that there is so much information, much of it contradictory or written by inexperienced golfers, or people trying to sell their magical products.

Try it yourself – google a common piece of golf advice, then google the exact opposite – both times you’ll get lots of hits.

There’s been times on this site when I’ve read someone’s detail swing advice, tried to apply what they are saying, then realised later that they are >30 handicap. I’m pretty sure even I’ve been handing out swing advice ;-)

The real danger of the internet is the self diagnosis of swing flaws. You read about sliding your hips, for example, and become convinced that it’s the reason you are still slicing, and if you can only slide your hips more you will be striping balls up the fairway. But what if it’s not? What if you spend hours trying to slide your hips when the real flaw is far more basic. You are wasting your valuable time and may even be making things worse.

For me there is no substitute for the advice of a good teaching Pro. Many a time I’ve gone for a lesson filled with ideas from internet forums/ YouTube videos to cure a swing flaw – and the actual advice from the Pro is completely different and much more effective.

Just my 2 cents

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With the thousands of YouTube videos, web pages and forums out there it’s hard to imagine how people learnt golf before the invention of the internet.

Is it? Didn't they just hit balls and/or go see a good or decent teaching professional? ;-)

The problem with learning golf on the internet is that there is so much information, much of it contradictory or written by inexperienced golfers, or people trying to sell their magical products.

The real danger of the internet is the self diagnosis of swing flaws. You read about sliding your hips, for example, and become convinced that it’s the reason you are still slicing, and if you can only slide your hips more you will be striping balls up the fairway. But what if it’s not? What if you spend hours trying to slide your hips when the real flaw is far more basic. You are wasting your valuable time and may even be making things worse.

For me there is no substitute for the advice of a good teaching Pro. Many a time I’ve gone for a lesson filled with ideas from internet forums/ YouTube videos to cure a swing flaw – and the actual advice from the Pro is completely different and much more effective.

Precisely. Knowledge != ability, nor does it mean you've properly diagnosed your own swing problems correctly.

I could write a lot more, but I'll leave it at that for now, and see what others have to say.

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Trying to learn golf from random Internet tips is akin to pissing in the wind and hoping your pants don't get wet, you may get lucky but it's a crap shoot at best. You need to work with a comprehensive plan that is consistent whether that be with an instructor or on your own. Internet golf tips are anything but comprehensive and usually conflict with each other. One plane and two plane methods are an example of the conflicts you can encounter.
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As you talked about, the problem with internet learning is weeding out the crap.  I am into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and there are TONS of videos on youtube explaining proper technique for this and for that....a lot of it is garbage.  But from the point of view of someone that doesn't "really" know technique, it sounds like gold.  Then they learn wrong technique and when it doesn't work, they have to re-learn the correct technique.

I agree that some people can learn off of the internet assuming they can video their swing and just think logically about what is happening.  It doesn't take a whole lot of book smarts to understand why a golf ball does what it does.  But if you search that topic on the internet, it becomes apparent that it does not make as much sense to a lot of people as you would think. I have some friends, for instance, that just can't wrap their heads around the ball flight laws, while it seems perfectly obvious to me.

So,  I think the internet would best be utilized "after" the basics are learned from a teacher and the user can actually incorporate those basics into their swing.

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Growing up and starting to play golf in the early 1960's, there was no internet, so I used the traditional methods to learn how to golf:  Golf Digest as well as other magazines, and a few books like Hogans, "Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf", and later, Jack Nicklaus' "Golf My Way."

Around the age of eleven or twelve I read articles by Al Geiberger that stressed tempo, especially for the taller golfer. Tour great Bob Toski said the 6'2" Geiberger "has the best looking swing for a tall man I've ever seen."  Well, I eventually grew to 6'3", and since I could not afford to take golf lessons, I tried to emulate Mr. Geiberger's swing.

From there it was just a matter of hitting enough golf balls to ingrain the swing habits into my brain. I also think that playing baseball from age 5 with my dad and two brothers allowed me to have a very good hand-eye coordination when swinging the clubs.

I played okay, as a teenager, shooting in the 80's, but not until I spent an entire month's salary at age 25 to attend a Golf Digest golf school, (with Bob Toski as lead instructor), did I actually develop a consistent swing.

I think the resources on the internet today are fantastic for golfers of any age, with tips to help almost anyone straighten out their problems.  But, too, I agree that the internet is no substitute for lessons from a professional.

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I think the Internet can have its merit.  There are probably plenty of good videos about a good grip and stance - other fundamentals.  Lots of advice about staying on plane.  Some proper things to do.

BUT - when you drill down to more of the how-do-I-stop-doing-xxx kind of thing, you can find about as many different ideas as you can videos.  And different teachers have different ideas of how to fix it.  And none of them have seen your swing.  Lots of conflicting advice.

And I'd hate to single out the Internet - I've seen conflicting advice in magazines and had different advice from different teachers in person.

But at a minimum, an in-person instructor can see what you are doing and it might be something you would have never thought of or seen a video / article for.  For example, I went in for a lesson once and the instructor observed that my club was SEVERELY laid off at the top of my backswing.  I had never seen a single video or article addressing this.  Had never considered it might be a problem and didn't know I was doing it.

I used to think getting a lesson was taking it too far - I'm just a rec golfer after all. Now that idea seems really silly.  For the price of a round or two of golf, some people can really get pointed in the right direction.  For me, the money I've spent on lessons (maybe 10 lessons total?) has been worth its weight in gold.

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I've learned a great deal in the past few weeks from the internet... YouTube. I understand the concept of the golf swing, and watching a few tips here and there have helped at the range. I can't remember hitting the ball this well... I'll find out tomorrow if I've actually learned anything... first actual round in about 8 years.
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Sure the internet can backfire, but so can an instructor, or any other training aid.  The simple fact of the matter is that the internet is a source of ideas, it gives you a starting point when you have none and that alone makes it valuable.  People might argue there is bad information on it and I just laugh.  So what if there is?  Are you suggesting humans aren't more than capable of teaching themselves bad habits all on their own?  I didn't think so!  The bottom line is.. you aren't going to become awesome after watching some youtube videos just like how you won't become awesome after a few lessons from a "pro".  Start with some ideas and go to the range and see what works and build from there.

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People might argue there is bad information on it and I just laugh.  So what if there is?

You wouldn't laugh when a kid that has been learning ankle locks on Youtube from an idiot and then comes to class and pops your ankle because he was doing it incorrectly and now you can't walk for a week...  The point of having a teacher there with you that has been there and seen that is so that the human won't teach himself bad habits.  The teacher is there to stop the bad habits. You practice the swing as the teacher tells you and follow his instruction and you won't have to worry about bad habits like you would trying to learn from Youtube.

I see what you are saying, but I went that route when I first started.  I went out and tried different things and I figured out what made the ball do what, but in the meantime, I developed a severe chicken wing and an over the top swing that I just couldn't get rid of.  Looking back, had I gone with a credible teacher, I would have been playing much better golf a lot sooner instead of having to try and fix the issues that I developed trying to learn the swing on my own.

I know that BJJ and golf are two totally different things, but in my mind, they're both based off the same ideas of how easy it is to learn the wrong technique via the internet.  I would much rather go to a teacher that has countless articles on his wall of his golfing accomplishments (and I understand that playing and teaching are different) than to watch a guy on an internet video that I've never met and can't ask him question in person. But I'm just funny that way and this is just all my opinion on the subject.

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